As you would expect, much is being made in the media regarding the holdout of rookie quarterback Brady Quinn. Of course, it should come as no surprise he is holding out, especially when you factor in everything which has transpired since the start of the 2007 NFL Draft.
The "Brady Quinn Watch" is in full swing, with local and national media slavishly covering the spectacle. From Arizona, Quinn offers platitudes of hope and anticipation about playing for the hometown Browns. Immediately thereafter, he floats a comment about believing in his agent (Tom Condon).
The story remains the same. Quinn is a holdout and a product of a flawed system.
Reports and/or rumors (whatever you call them) have been generated noting the Browns and Quinn are approximately five-million dollars apart in guaranteed compensation. Other rumors stake the claim that Quinn could be on the verge of terminating his agreement with Condon due to the state of the negotiations.
Some of the above is indeed correct, as we have been told. But it doesn't reflect the situation as of today.
A source close to the player has informed the Orange and Brown Report that negotiations between the team and Quinn/Condon are much closer.
At one time, there was a significant distance between the Browns' offering and the counter-offer coming from Condon. While both sides have been taken aback by how the negotiations have played out, neither party is ready to draw a line in the sand and let the holdout linger.
"The latest offer presented by the Browns was good, but it did not fully present a realistic opportunity to Brady (Quinn) to maximize his potential earnings if he were the starting quarterback of the team and a highly productive player," the source said. "He (Quinn) was arguably the best quarterback in the draft and he deserves to be compensated on this ability."
I still recall his reaction when dropping like a fly on draft day. Quinn's draft-day plummet to 22nd overall isn't far in the past, but the words offered at the time are already meaningless.
An Ohio native, Quinn's desire to play for the Browns was evident. As I recall, Quinn wasn't overly concerned about the money due to the drop on draft day, because he never had it to begin with.
Words. Actions have spoken another tale.
For the sake of discussion, let us ponder the following hypothetical situation:
A team and player are approximately one-million dollars apart on guaranteed clauses of a contract. The same player and team are separated by between three and five million dollars in escalated compensation dollars, which could include voidable years, etc, which boosts the escalated compensation value.
On top of these dollar figures, the player seeks a four year contract. The team wants a longer deal, but the player will only agree to a longer contract if the guaranteed compensation and escalated compensation is significantly raised.
While being the 22nd player selected in the draft sets a certain expectation for the dollars he'll get, his position and the thoughts of some that he would go higher in the draft change the equation.
This should equate to the team providing the player a guaranteed compensation deal which would pay the player on the level of a mid-teen selection or better. If escalated compensation and voidable years are added to the equation, the player now is a top-13 or better selection. Without the escalated compensation the player is a top-18 or top-19 compensated player.
Because of the complexity of the negotiations, and Quinn's spot in the draft, teams, players, and representatives alike are watching events with keen interest.
Two prominent player representatives offered thoughts to the Orange and Brown Report regarding how the results of the Quinn negotiations could reverberate around the league.
"Tom Condon is known as one of the toughest agents in the business, at times he will keep a player out of camp to prove a point. This Quinn situation could become messy in a hurry, if indeed some of the information discussed here and what I know about the talks is true" one representative told the OBR.
"It is one thing to try and get all you can in a negotiation, but there comes a time when a deal needs to be consummated. This kid was the 22 nd player selected, not the 10th or 15th... the player is being hurt because he is not on the field with the opportunity to earn a starting job he stated he wanted. The team is being hurt as well, because they have invested heavily in the player and the demands are unrealistic."
Over the years the Browns have been known to compensate rookie players far above the norm, given where they were selected. More than a handful of teams since the team returned in 1999 have complained about the Browns offering up to a 15-percent increase of expectations at a selection point.
"Getting the 22nd player in the draft into camp should not be the biggest issue on the table. I have not had one first-round draft choice hold out... when selected in the bottom 2/3 of the round," a second agent told the Orange and Brown Report.
"I don't blame the agent for wanting to shorten the deal to help secure a larger compensation base - if his player is highly successful - but the numbers we hear thrown around are surprising for a player selected in the position Quinn was."
Quinn may sign today, he may sign tomorrow, but his holdout has generated a significant amount of interest around the league.
And we haven't begun discussing the thoughts of some players he will call teammates, someday.
But for all the distance in escalated dollars between the teams, a deal can still be struck soon.